The events of this chapter are based as closely as possible on the actual chronology of the Darwin bombings. As in real life, John Mcgrath's estimate is way off reality and all hope of preparation is lost. 200 Japanese planes hit Darwin completely by surprise, sinking over 30 ships and killing 200 people. They lost only four planes.
Final chapter. It's been fun, especially considering my target word count for this story was 8,000 words. That worked out…
Disclaimer: I still don't own Australia.
Journal of Brother John, Feb 19th (in longhand)
Morning… I had half-expected my reaction to these events to have dulled with sleep, but instead they are even more powerful this morning. I feel alive in a way I haven't done since I was very young; which I have maybe never felt in my whole life. I am filled with passion, and through this I suddenly find I understand God, understand his nature- and I understand people, and their nature.
I have resolved to apologise to Nullah for all the injustices I have dealt him, as I see now the errors in my thinking. How in God's name, I ask myself, could cold logic have been so deceiving? It is true that faith is far more powerful than reason. Reason is a corruptor, diluting in its myriad arguments, and pathways, and lines of thought. It is programmed to guide us to our preferred outcomes. Faith is the ultimate contrast: it is pure and uncompromising, and thus it cannot deceive you.
Anyway, enough with my philosophical meanderings. I shall find Nullah after lunch, probably, and see if he will talk to me.
Then I shall see Brother Frank also, in Darwin, to ensure he is recovering, and to apologise in the same way. I want it known that I reject my old self, that I have been born again. I see him in the evening. I have no fear of making these apologies now. I have no pride anymore, and what a wonderful feeling that is!
And tomorrow, life for Daku and his gang, and their bullying, will become much more difficult.
(This is the final entry. One word, Later… is inscribed under the previous, clearly marking an intention to continue in the same day.)
Radio conversation between Mission Island Radio Station and Area Combined Headquarters, Darwin, 19th February 1942, approx 9:30am.
M.I: This is Mission Island to Darwin… You hear me? Yes? I have sighted an unusually large air formation bearing down on us from the northwest; do you recognise it?
ACH: Can you estimate the number of planes?
M.I: Twenty or thirty at least.
ACH: I will check with a man in authority. Please hold this frequency.
(Pause of 4min 19secs)
ACH: There is no cause for alarm. Authorities report that 11 United States P-40E Kittyhawk fighters are running drills in that area.
M.I: I believe there were more planes than that… are you certain?
ACH: Quite certain. There are no other large formations in this area.
M.I: Even so... I would be very grateful if you could pass this message on to the appropriate commanding officer.
ACH: Of course.
M.I: Thank-you very much.
(Frequency is switched off. At approximately 10:30am a brief, inaudible transmission is picked up from Mission Island. Contact is then abruptly lost. Minutes later, all transmissions from both Darwin and Mission Island radio stations are lost.)
Brother Frank's Diary, 19th February
I write this as I ride along on the back of an army truck, surrounded by the same children I have worked with for two months. I know I could never give anything like a full account of today from the back of this truck, so I won't attempt it. Suffice to say that right now I should be sad, surrounded as we are by the smoking remains of Darwin, the story of a tragedy that makes all of our problems on Mission Island look so small; I should be sad, but instead this is one of the happiest days of my life.
My only hope is that one day I will have the opportunity to see Nullah again, happy, with his family. Like I said two months ago, it didn't suit him to be so sad. Now he can be contented again.
Here my short diary ends. It is, after all, really Nullah's story rather than mine, and since the chief character is absent there is no longer any need to continue it. So I say, with an air of Victorian romance (which is how I like it), the final concluding word:
Letter addressed to Nullah at Faraway Downs, received 6th May 1942 (unread by him until August).
As an aborigine I know a lot about stories. I'd like to tell you one that means something to me.
I'm no good at writing really, especially in English- never was, but my mama helped me a lot, and so did a priest who visited (my papa wouldn't like me sending a letter like this to a half-caste, so I didn't tell him about it). If you're reading this, Nullah, I hope you show your mama and papa, because I bet you never told them, and they ought to know. Because you never really had to hide all of us, especially with all the bombs dropping. You could have just hid yourself, like so many of us were trying to do. I don't know if you'd forgiven me, but at least you'd forgotten, and that was more than I'd ever done.
I been reading the bible a lot now- crazy, huh? Father John always said he got at least one convert every two months, and I was happy to go along to get in his good books. But now I found this passage I really like- it's called the Sermon on the Mount. I think you should read it sometime.
Anyway, I don't want you to reply to this letter, because that would be forgiveness, and you don't really have to give me that. Not the aborigine way. But at least you can start to forget. I hope you're happy again- you always did look like you had something to go back to, and really that annoyed me more than anything.
In case you're wondering, I don't know what happened to Orrin and Odern- I guess they're still in the mission, and they've just been moved. If I see them again I'll tell them to write to you. You deserve to know that it was me who made them join in- don't blame them for anything. And I feel like I should finish with what I should have started with.
Sorry for everything.
Such a good feeling to write 'End'! Anyway, did everyone enjoy it? Worth reading? Feedback much appreciated- tell me anything, what you liked and didn't like about the story, the style, the content.
In case anyone's interested, I have a fanfic for Tekken already in the pipeline. It's a response to what I feel are my two big weaknesses as a writing- small casts of characters, and a tendency to get bogged down in sentimentalism. Hopefully the style will be briefer and more to the point than this one, with plenty of fight scenes, subterfuge and gritty confrontation.
Also I've been thinking for a while about a short Suite Life fanfic (mostly to try my hand at comedy). Maybe even another fanfic about Australia- it'd be much less spiritual, pretty much a straightforward adventure story. And I'll update my other Australia fanfic, "Walkabout," whenever I get an idea.